I am a speedy writer.
Unfortunately, isn’t because I’m talented or have super powers. They might still be coming in though. It’s because of these very uninspiring reasons:
a) I have a terrible memory and if I don’t write fast enough I forget what I’m talking about and my sentences end with cranberry.
b) I learnt a few sneaky secrets.
Sneaky secrets are fabulous.
Like Gollum, sneaking is is a golden pastime of mine. Yes, I am Slytherin too, if you’re curious. I often sneak in shorcuts when I’m writing. WAIT! I know what you’re thinking! Shortcuts in writing are really evil, Cait. Well, yes and no.
But I’m going to be super specific here. My post is about first drafts. Not editing. Not rewriting. First ugly drafts.
SO! Let us begin! I will shed light on my secret with my sneaky ways. And therefore, unfortunately, show you peoples that I do not have superpowers. Although you can think I do if you want.
1. You need the whole day to yourself.
If you have 2 million activities planned for the day, writing 10K ain’t gonna happen, my friend. You need a day completely for yourself. (And I don’t mean don’t talk to people….I mean don’t plan a huge activity that involves hours away from writing.) Also: don’t worry! You’re not going to write for 12 hours straight. Ha, ha, ha! Can you see me doing that? Heck, no. I have the attention span of a small goldfish.
I love ticking things off a list. I like to complete things. Saying, “I’m going to write until I can’t type another dot” is way too hard. Half the time I feel like that after 100 words. SO. I need small goals.
If I’m aiming for a 10,000-word day, then I mentally map my day. I need to write 3.3K in the morning (for me that’s like two chapters). After lunch is another 3.3K. Then after dinner is another 3.4K. Once you complete your goal, you have a mini party! And that’s were rewards come in…
I don’t just mean food either! Food is awesome, but if you eat a piece of cake for every 1,000-words you write? Well, it can a) get expensive, and b) your pants might not fit. Lucky for us, there are all sorts of ways to reward yourself.
Some ways I like to reward myself are:
– Pinterest: very useful. A 5 minute browse does wonders for the inspiration, especially if I search for stuff that relates to my project.
– Go for a walk: Stretches them ol’ bones, if you know what I mean. Sitting can be boring. A 30 minute walk does wonders for refilling the creative tank.
– Eat: Well, duh. I’m not an advocate of “a chapter before breakfast”, but it IS a fabulous motivator to say “no-lunch-until-you’ve-got-two-chapters”.
– Drink: After you write a chapter, you get a hot chocolate or a tea or swig from the fountain of youth.
– Watch Youtube/TV: All you need to keep in mind is the time. Spend 20minutes. Not 5 hours.
Things I do NOT do in breaks:
– Read: it makes me feel like my own writing is horrible beyond belief (which it is, but I don’t need to be reminded right now).
– Play computer games: Anything that’s hard to stop, because believe me, you sometimes it’s hard to go back and write.
– Blogging/emailing: I’m not saying isolate yourself! I’m saying “guard thine fingers”. They’ll get tired.
(Remember: we’re talking about 1st drafts!) First drafts don’t need huge amounts of thought. (Some is nice, of course, but yeah, don’t sprain a brain cell.) I write WILD and I write MESSY. No thinking. Just spew words onto the page and you can fix them up later. If you’re fussing over every sentence, you won’t be able to write enough.
THIS IS THE KEY RIGHT HERE, OKAY?! Write messy. Throw words around. Just. write.
Technically I can write 100 words a minute. (Go typing tests!) Which means I should knock over 1,000-words in 10 minutes, right?!!
Don’t worry. I don’t. But I’d like to think I could knock over 2,000-words in 1.5 hours.
You can do this so many ways. Like:
a) tell your writing buddy you’re doing 10K in a day and keep them updated
b) update twitter. Remember that funny sentence you wrote? Keep it handy and paste on twitter/facebook in your break.
c) are you in a writer group? Update them! (Possibly even recruit them to do a 10K with you.)
The key is telling someone. It makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something! And bonus if they can give a few words of encouragement too.
(And I know I said “avoid humans” for #1, but this is different. #1 means don’t go scuba diving on the same day you plan to write 10K. Duh.)
So how often have you written 10,000-words in a day, Cait?
Well, firstly, I’m so glad you asked. I have done it several times. In my perfect writing world, I would like to average 5,000-words a day. Hey. I said perfect. When I wrote Them Hungry Bones I averaged at 7K. And then, another day, did my BEST WORD COUNT EVER at 13K! But, gosh, was I exhausted after that one.
But, when I was rewriting another of my WIPs, I averaged 2K a day. It’s completely different when you’re first-drafting to when you’re rewriting/editing. So say I. But when am I wrong? Ha…don’t answer that.
I have churned out 10K days several times. Pros and cons? It’s obviously exhausting, but it really gets you through a manuscript.
And if you’re still looking at me blankly thinking, “there is no way I’ll ever be able to do this,” then give yourself the ulimate motivation: dare yourself.
You were saying, Gollum?
Cait would like to confess she’s been averaging only 2K a day during her round of sci-fi rewrites. It’s hard. Her brain hurts. She thinks she belongs in fantasy and away from sci-fi techno terms….but what’s life without a challenge, right? In other news, she just finished SPARK and has a delicious surprise coming with her review. It will be glorious. You will be surprised.